Convoy is a small Chinese flashlight manufacturer, which produces a range of budget flashlights that are very popular with flashlight enthusiasts, in particular, the huge selling Convoy S2+.
Why Convoy S2+?
The flashlight falls into the category of everyday carry but has the ability to perform many other tasks.
Its popularity is mainly due to the affordable price and numerous configuration and modification options.
The S2+ is an ideal and brilliantly capable Every Day Carry (EDC) torch.
It supports up to 1000 Lumens output with a 7135*8 driver.
Constant current circuit ensures constant output, supporting ultra-long run time up to 150 hours in lowest settings.
Its lighting range is about 100-200 meters with the stock setup, with memory function, low voltage warnings and battery reverse protection function.
Good throw and very bright right out of the box without needing any mods really.
Pretty impressive torture testing they did in their YT video.
Quality, construction, performance, and ability all easily exceed its price point.
Convoy S2 + is a kind of platform, where you can choose your own Color options, Driver and LED and Tint.
The color and metal vs rubber button are mostly aesthetic options, but the rubber buttons are slightly better at resisting water.
You can customize the type of LED & type of Driver you required according to your specific needs.
- Diameter: 24mm
- Length: 118mm
- Weight: 76 grams (without the battery)
- LED: 16mm Glass Lens
- Reflector: Aluminum Smooth Reflector
- Driver: 17mm
- Required battery type: 1pcs x 18650 lithium (protected or unprotected)
Convoy S2+ is made of aluminum alloy and IPX 8 waterproof (Rubber button) / water resistant (Metal button) which is durable to use and sturdy in hand.
There are three sections to Convoy S2+ flashlight; Head, Body, and Tail-cap.
The threads are all square cut and the tail cap caters for lockout.
The knurling is mild and harmonious but sufficient for grip.
There are two holes on the tail cap for either the lanyard attachment or for the screw on the pocket clip.
In addition, the switch is with a recessed design, allowing easy, stable tail standing.
You can choose how many 7135 chips it has on the driver.
That way you have options of max brightness or max run time.
7135*3 output current 1050mA
7135*4 output current 1400mA
7135*6 output current 2100mA
7135*8 output current 2800mA
The number of 7135 chips controls the maximum brightness.
S2+ lights never step down by themselves, no matter which driver you choose.
More chips produce brighter output but in exchange for more heat and shorter battery life.
Going with the full 8× is still a safe option if your situation requires a short period of maximum brightness.
If it gets too hot, you have to choose a lower mode manually.
Never leave a 7135*6 or 7135*8 Convoy S2+ running unattended on the highest mode.
They will get hot enough to burn you.
For runtime, I think 3× or 4× chips will do.
If you want to do 8× it will give you a little more light but a lot more heat, the lm/A efficiencies reduces with the number of chips installed.
I started with 8× but I regretted it because I never used the high on it.
If you use the 3× or 4× you will be able to use the high without burning yourself.
I would recommend the 7135*4 at 1400mA or 7135*6 at 2100mA driver.
I bought the 7135*8 2800mA driver, and the light gets pretty warm even on medium, while quite hot on high mode.
The S2 just does not have enough thermal mass to handle nearly 3amps for long.
So if you use your light at max for < 5 mins, the 7135*8 will probably suit best.
If however, you tend to use your torch for 20-30 mins at a time, then a lesser output driver might work better.
Relative to 3×7135 (100%) the lm/A efficiencies are:
- 4×7135 313 lm/A -> 95%
- 6×7135 288 lm/A -> 88%
- 8×7135 268 lm/A -> 82%
LED and tint
Cree XM-L2 emitter
U2-1A (6500-7000 K)
T6-3B (5000-5200 K)
T6-4C (4300-4500 K)
T5-5B (4000-4200 K)
T4-7A (3000-3200 K)
The LED options are not complicated to grasp.
T6 = This is the brightness bin.
Cree group emitters into different categories or bins rated on their output.
If you want the most lumens you want the highest bin. But sometimes you get nicer tints in other brightness bins.
4C = This would be the tint.
The lower numbers are cooler, bluer light.
Higher numbers are warm, yellow light.
Neutral is in the middle.
The default firmware is the 3/5 mode group.
Via a button sequence, you can choose 3 output modes (L-M-H) or 5 modes which include SOS/strobe.
Group 1 (3-Mode): 5% > 40% > 100%
Group 2 (5-Mode): 5% > 40% > 100% > Strobe > SOS
To switch to another group, have it in low mode (5%) in any group, turn it on for about 5 seconds, the flashlight will start flashing automatically for a few seconds, turn off the flashlight and turn on it again. It will switch to the next group.
But I highly recommended you NOT TO GET the ones with the default 3/5 modes.
The few seconds of blinking in 5% low mode can be irritating for some, and there is a massive improvement by upgrading to the new Biscotti firmware.
I suggest you make a special request to upgrade to Biscotti when placing orders with Simon from Convoy Store@aliexpress.
Do not make your payment first, do wait for his price adjustment for your requests before payment.
Options from some mode groups include moonlight, strobe, bike flashing, SOS, battery check, various mode spacings, increasing or decreasing brightness order, and memory on or off.
The mode groups are as follows:
Group1 – 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check
Group2 – 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
Group3 – 100%, 35%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
Group4 – 1%, 20%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
Group5 – 1%, 20%, 100%
Group6 – 100%, 20%, 1%
Group7 – 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
Group8 – 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%
Group9 – 50%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
Group10 – 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
Group11 – 100%, 20%, strobe
Group12 – 100% only
Biscotti drivers have mode groups that let you restrict the light to half power (groups 7, 8 & 9).
If one of those groups covers your needs, you could buy a light with a more powerful driver and restrict its output, yet have the option for more power as and when you need it.
The new Biscotti firmware includes low voltage protection, while the ‘old’ 3/5 mode firmware have low voltage warning only, it does not provide low voltage protection.
With the Biscotti, when the cells are nearly discharged, flashlight output will step down to moonlight output, and the light continues to run with moonlight output for a few hours.
You won’t be suddenly left in the dark.
Eventually, the low voltage protection will step in.
Changing mode groups and turning memory on/off is quite easy, starting with 10 taps to enter configuration mode.
To change mode groups, a half press during the first “fuzzy” flash will be followed by a number of flashes reflecting the specific mode group.
You can refer to this video on Configuration of Biscotti modes for Convoy C8+, it is similar to S2+.
"Biscotti" firmware for Convoy brand lights =========================================== The interface is as follows: While off: - Fully click and release to turn the light on. It will go to the first mode or the last-used mode, depending on whether you enabled mode memory. While on: - Short tap: Do a short (less than 0.5s) half-press to go forward to the next mode. - Long tap: Do a long (longer than 0.5s) half-press to reset to the first mode (if mode memory is turned off). - Or fully click and release to turn the light off. - Short tap a bunch of times (10+ taps, or until the light stops turning on) to enter config mode. Blinky modes: - Some mode groups have blinky modes. They are not hidden, but if you leave mode memory off you can skip them with a long press. Blinky modes include: - Tactical police strobe (~8/16 Hz) - Biking flasher (2-level stutter beacon, 1 Hz) - Battery check / beacon mode Each blink represents about 25% battery charge, so 1 is a low battery and 4 blinks is full. 5 blinks means it's over-charged. - SOS Configuration options: The config mode has several options. It will blink out a number to show which option is active, then "buzz" or "stutter" for a bit. Click during the "buzz" to select that option. Options include: 1. Mode group. After clicking, the light should come on in a special group-select mode. In this mode, it slowly blinks out numbers from 1 to N, where N is the number of mode groups, then repeats. Turn the light off after N blinks to select mode group N. BTW, do not leave the light in this mode for long periods of time, because it will wear out the driver's memory faster. The mode groups are: (output is approximate) 1. 0.1%, 1, 10, 35, 100, strobe, biking, battcheck 2. 0.1, 1, 10, 35, 100 3. 100, 35, 10, 1, 0.1 4. 1, 20, 100, strobe, biking, battcheck, SOS 5. 1, 20, 100 6. 100, 20, 1 7. 0.1, 1, 10, 50, strobe, biking, battcheck, SOS 8. 0.1, 1, 10, 50 9. 50, 10, 1, 0.1 10. 1, 10, 35, 100 11. 100, 20, strobe 12. 100% only Example: To select group 5 (low-med-high), let it blink until it counts out five, then click the button. 2. Mode memory. Off or on.
The S2+ with Biscotti is a great light.
No matter you are a flashlight enthusiast or just for daily use, Convoy S2+ is worth buying as an EDC flashlight.
The Convoy lights, in general, are excellent in all areas, anodizing, threads, machining, build quality, design, and ergonomics at a good affordable price.
The S2+ specifically is awesome because it’s about as small as a 18650 light can be.
It is extremely versatile, even though it is a very floody light, the light output is enormous and lights up everything in front of it. “Wall of light” is how it is often described, and with 8×7135 this is absolutely true.
You can swap your smooth reflector for a SMO reflector, OP reflector or TIRs reflector.
Using a SMO reflector may cause a yellow dot in the center of the hotspot, it is preferable to use an OP reflector instead as it will smoothen out the focused hot spot.
Comparison between a Convoy S2+ beam profile with XM-L2/OP reflector (left) vs XP-L HI/SMO reflector (right).
More focus beam with a SMO reflector, OP helps blend the light and TIRs even more so.
There is a detail explanation on the change of the TIRs reflector lens from this firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best AAA / AA Flashlight – Lumintop EDC01 & TOOL AA 2.0
Colors are available through Lumintop’s Aliexpress company site.
TOOL AA 2.0
Best Rechargeable Battery Charger with Analyzer – LiitoKala Lii-500
The LiiTokala Lii-500 is an ideal 4-slot charger & analyzer that accepts both lithium-ion cells as well as NiMH cells.
The main thing I like about it is its simplicity.
After inserting a cell, the slot will default to a Charge function with a current of 500mA.
You can change this within 10 seconds by pressing the Mode or Current buttons.
You can also change it at any time by pressing and holding the Mode button till it blinks.
It will also analyze cell capacity, using both charge capacity and discharge capacity.
The type of cell (lithium-ion or NiMH) is determined automatically by the Lii-500.
There are four bay selector buttons for each slot.
Pressing one of those buttons will display all the information about that slot.
Each of the 4 slots on the LiiTokala Lii-500 operates independently, you can mix different lithium-ion cells and NiMH cells together & performs charging and/or analyzing with rates of various charge for each of the slots independently.
Standard charge rates for all 4 slots is 500mA, for all lengths and lithium-ion or NiMH chemistries.
Lithium-ion cells will charge to 4.2v, and NiMH cells will charge until they are detected as full ( around 1.5v).
If you insert a cell into an empty slot while the unit is on, it will get a default charge of 500mA.
Pressing the Mode button cycles through the different functions: ‘Charge’, ‘FAST Test’, and ‘NOR Test’.
- Charge: the default mode – if you insert a cell in and do nothing else, your cell will get charged at 500mAh.
A simple press of the “Current” button changes the charge rate.
Charge rates can be 300mA, 500mA, 700mA, and 1000mA.
- Fast Test: is for a “quick” test of cell capacity. The Lii-500 will:
1 ) Discharge the cell to 2.8v (lithium-ion) or 0.9v (NiMH).
2) Charge the cell fully
3) Display on screen the mAh used to charge the cell
It is not recommended to use ‘Fast Test’. It gives a rough estimate of the cell’s capacity, better to do a proper test with the “Normal” function instead.
Nor Test: does a discharge test to report the amount of mAh of capacity for a cell. The phases:
1) Charge the cell fully
2) Discharge the cell to 2.8v (lithium-ion) or 0.9v (NiMH).
3) Display the amount of discharge capacity (this remains until you remove the cell).
4) Charge the cell back up to full (or you can remove the cell before this completes).
The NOR function is the most useful analyzing tool since it reports the discharge capacity.
During the test, the Current charge options shows (300mA / 500mA / 700mA / 1000mA)
If you select 300mA or 500mA, the cell will be discharged at 250mAh.
Select 700mA / 1000mA, the cell will be discharged at 500mAh.
The LCD will show flashing ‘END’ when the discharge capacity test has completed, and it will stop flashing when it is fully charged again.
There is no active cooling, the heat created when the cell is discharging is passively rising out of the “vents” on the top of the unit.
Every mode displays the cell internal resistance (not reliable), which is tested when the cell is installed in the unit.
There is a running timer in the 0:00 H:MM format that shows the time of the cell’s activity.
Current button is active when the Mode option is still blinking.
Once the mode has been selected, the current is locked in.
By holding down the Mode button (thus activating mode selection), current can be changed.
Pressing the Current button selects 300mA, 500mA, 700mA, or 1000mA charge rates.
If you load in multiple cells before you turn on the unit, as long as the number keys are not touched the Mode/Charge selection is for all slots.
Recommended safe charge rate for NiMH batteries
0.5 to 1C is usually a safe bet.
0.5C, 2000 mAh battery = 2000 mAh x 0.5 = 1000 mA, or 1 Amps (A) (divide by 1000).
To get a good charger look for one with individual cell termination, i.e. it must be able to charge one cell at a time.
It must terminate when the battery is full and preferable not use trickle charge.
For chargers with voltage termination a top-off charge is acceptable and secures that the cell is full, for chargers with -dv/dt termination it is not needed.
Keeping the batteries cool during charge is also a good idea, i.e. using a charger that heats batteries as little as possible.
If the current is selectable, it must be high enough to enable -dv/dt termination on -dv/dt charges, i.e. 0.5A for AAA and 1A for AA is fine.
What will be the best charging current for chargers with voltage termination?
I have Lii-500 which can charge with 300, 500, 700, 1000mA current.
There is not one, as long as the termination work you can use any current within the battery rating.
I would still use 500mA and 1A, they are a good compromise between charge time and charge current.